On the day of the 115th anniversary of the birth of the Nobel Laureate in Literature, the International “Elias Canetti” Society gathered its members and friends for this symbolic gesture. From the first years of its establishment, the Society has been working in synergy with the Municipality of Ruse and the District Administration of Ruse. It is one of the first non-governmental organizations in Bulgaria, which carries out cross sectoral cooperation, but without being associated with any party activities. This year, too, this fact was honored by representatives of the municipal and state authorities with flowers and congratulatory addresses. On July 25th, there was supposed to be a real celebration with the participation of writers and musicians from Austria. Due to travel restrictions imposed by the Austrian government, as well as the temporary ban by the municipality of Ruse from holding cultural events indoors, this did not happen. The next date for the 15th anniversary of the Austrian Library “Elias Canetti” – Ruse is October 15th and of course depends on if the situation with COVID-19 normalizes.

On the same date, the General Assembly of the IECS was held in compliance with all anti-epidemic measures. Two emblematic for the Society men, members of the Management Board, traveled to Ruse. Timo Koester is the first cultural manager of the IECS. He flew in from Frankfurt am Main, Germany, where he now works for good intercultural relations in the cosmopolitan city. This is a kind of continuation of the Ruse period in his life, in which Timo planned and organized events – original, even avant-garde for Bulgaria then.

During his diplomatic tenure in Bulgaria, Austrian Deputy Ambassador Lothar Jaschke traveled throughout the country. Ruse is one of his favorite stops, and the IECS – he was particularly fond of. It is, of course, connected with his mission to present the best of Austrian culture in our country and there is the intersection of a friendship. The establishment of the Austrian Library “Elias Canetti” in Ruse 15 years ago owes much to Lothar Jaschke. Today, he works in Brussels at the European External Action Service, East Africa. And whenever he can, he travels to Ruse, where he claims to have come 56 times.

The pandemic in 2020 affected the course of the General Assembly of the IECS. Last year’s report was intertwined with the challenges we are facing this year. And they are mostly in the organization of live events with an audience. Virtual connection readiness is ongoing and will be available if necessary. As for the upcoming events, follow the site, Facebook profile and YouTube channel of the IECS to remain informed on recent activities. See the day July 25th in photos.